The ninth studio album by alternative-rock/pop band Switchfoot, titled ‘Fading West’ sees the band bringing up elements from the roots of their career, and combining it with new ideas and techniques. The whole effort comes across as one of Switchfoot’s better albums from the past few years, easily surpassing ‘Vice Verses’ and ‘Hello Hurricane’. ‘Fading West’ contains much of what one would enjoy from Switchfoot, with the album itself containing hefty helpings of anthemic pop-rock sensibilities. For the most part, Switchfoot have produced an incredibly satisfying album that is sure to please fans, although it does seem marred by a number of negatives that Switchfoot themselves haven’t quite been able to shake off.
‘Fading West’ is in a few ways a very typical Switchfoot album. For the most part, it’s all pumped up and exciting, with the music coming through in fine style, carried along by Foreman’s vocal style. However, it seems Switchfoot have opted for a little bit more experimentation on ‘Fading West’, throwing in a few surprises here and there, and both utilizing and incorporating a number of ideas to really push their music out. The whole effort comes across as one of Switchfoot’s more enjoyable album efforts, and perhaps easily their best in their most recent years. Musically, the album offers that little bit more as Switchfoot bring in new ideas and instruments into the mix, with most of it all contributing in fine style to the album’s overall shape and sound.
Where ‘Fading West’ lacks is in the structure of the songs themselves. Whilst a number of the songs are highly enjoyable, and a few rather surprising from Switchfoot, it seems that for the most part, the album is made up of rather basic sounding songs. At times, it feels a little bit uninspired and rather boring, somehow overshadowing the album’s greater strengths. It’s a shame as at times, ‘Fading West’ seems to suggest that the band is really trying again to make great music, and then at others it just comes across as a little lazy and formulaic. It seems the album is made up in equal measure of both good songs and bad songs, giving ‘Fading West’ a rather average air about itself.
Switchfoot may have managed to produce a great effort than their previous two albums combined, but it seems that many of their flaws haven’t quite been improved upon, and it might be a while before Switchfoot make an album that is as strong as ‘The Beautiful Letdown’, or as charming as ‘Nothing Is Sound’. The times where ‘Fading West’ works, it suggest that Switchfoot are getting onto the right path in their music, though it doesn’t seem to excuse the fact that there are some very weak songs present on ‘Fading West’. Perhaps ‘Fading West’ is a step in the right direction, though until Switchfoot offer their follow-up to ‘Fading West’, we probably won’t know any time soon.
- ★★★☆☆ 3/5
- Who We Are
- Slipping Away
- Back To The Beginning Again
Switchfoot’s ninth studio album ‘Fading West’ is out now.